Download PDF Here
14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Two Nov-Dec 2023.
Annie’s Mass, poems by Lorraine Gibson.
The bark of winter’s shedding-birch peels in silver-curls.
Matriarchs huddle on the chapel’s chilly flagstones,
the fur of their old coats ragged as elderly cats.
Suits and woollens hastily unpacked from storage
give-off small puffs of naphthalene as folk
settle and shuffle along the narrow pews.
Frenetic dust-motes rise and dance in the silence.
So many friends, so many differing spiritual persuasions
pressing creaking knees onto hassocks— these small
tapestry confidants worn shiny from so many
Thanks be to God and God help me petitions.
I am blinking back tears for you, and for me:
a silent morse code known to those of us
moving to the tip of life’s triangle.
A slideshow clicks through the years: snippets
of your life Zooming over oceans to Ireland,
to kin in Cavan. You are larger than life
sipping tea from your favourite cup:
lime-green ribbons twist through violets and bluebells,
your gaze steady over the cup rim, the future not in sight.
The tenor of the day appears to rely on faith.
Some seem comforted by certitude.
I am tormented by questions, wintery with doubt,
sitting and kneeling in unfamiliar rituals,
mouthing the platitudes of centuries.
I don’t want you to be in that silent wooden box,
within touching distance, holding
your amber rosary—each well-thumbed bead
—a silent store-house of a life lived kindly.
I want to be back in the cosy fug of your tiny bookshop
warming the enamel tea-pot, clattering
the op-shop cups and saucers.
I want the scones and jam; the laughter;
the talk of lovers we’d savoured and left
when we were light limbed and ripe as luscious peaches.
I need our mornings with Heaney and Larkin
when we spoke of lives that offered much—yet often wanted more.
The sun seems immune to grief. It’s throwing bright javelins of light.
The image of your Jesus is glowing through stained-glass.
Crimson and cobalt pour through him. His golden palms,
his arms, beseeching, reaching down to those who need
his comfort, those who need his promised peaceful waters.
My Dear Annie, it is more of you that I am needing now.
In Times of Cancellation
The season of constant aggression
explodes its accusations in knee-jerk bursts.
Culpability prowls along fair-game streets
scattering narcissist confetti
searching for slights.
Is it best to resist entering
debate, or indeed offering
opinion of any kind?
Or, shall we risk supping
cold-water porridge from
fathomless vats of offence?
© Lorraine Gibson
Lorraine Gibson is a Scottish Australian poet and writer living in regional Australia. In 2023 she was shortlisted for the Calanthe Press Poetry Prize. Since retiring from her work as a Cultural Anthropologist she has been drawn to writing poetry. Her poetry appears or is upcoming in: Meniscus, The Galway Review, Hecate, Eureka St, Prole, Live Encounters, Backstory, Brushstokes III, Poetry for The Planet, Booranga FourW, Book of Matches, Tarot, Last Stanza, and others. Lorraine has a PhD. in Anthropology from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Her book, ‘We Don’t Do Dots: Aboriginal Art and Culture in Wilcannia, New South Wales’ is published in the UK by Sean Kingston Press.